See the Ablaze team at Grafton Showground this weekend.
See the Ablaze team at Grafton Showground this weekend.

Firey spirit for music festival

THE Grafton Racecourse is set to rock this Saturday thanks to the work of one dedicated and, some would say “stubborn”, woman.

The Flame Tree Music Festival, now in its second year, has become something of an obsession for Dawn Collison.

Having lost money on the inaugural event last year, Dawn has done her utmost to ensure this year’s event is a success.

She and friends have handed out thousands of flyers, she has slept in her car at Tamworth in the process, visited Lismore, Glen Innes and Byron Bay in promotion mode.

Dawn has set up ticket sales with Oztix and has asked others to help with Facebook pages and websites in the pursuit of one dream – a successful Flame Tree Music Festival 2011.

A lot of this will depend on you, the reader, who must decide to take action on Saturday and get along to support this ambitious entertainment initiative.

Dawn has had to overcome even more difficulties this year. Her headline act, Don Walker (the main songwriter from Cold Chisel who originated from Grafton), pulled out a few months ago because, Dawn said, he couldn’t be paid cash on the night of the show.

“We are a not-for-profit organisation and we need to have complete transparency. He was going to be paid within seven days, but that wasn’t good enough apparently,” she said.

“But he wasn’t going to be playing Cold Chisel songs and we weren’t allowed to mention Cold Chisel in promotion, so from a promotion point of view it wasn’t going to be worth it anyway.”

Dawn said she really wanted the Grafton music scene to come back to life, to be able to compare with other strong music scenes on the North Coast. “In 2010 we had about 300 or so come along, but this year we are getting a much better vibe,” she said.

Speaking of her lead act Barrel House, Dawn said they came highly recommended from a friend who’d watched them follow Ash Grunwald at a winery festival.

“There was more than 2000 people there and apparently they were magnificent. Everyone was up dancing and stayed up,” she said.

Dawn said the festival was licensed and there would be DJs running in the amphitheatre section of the venue, but the main stage would be in front of the grandstand which was weatherproof and held more than 1000.

“I’m still looking for volunteers. I need one more RSA marshall to keep an eye on the crowd, and others to help out,” she said.

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